(WWTI) – Today is National Vinyl Record Day, so lower the stylus and listen to some groovy tunes.

Also known as a phonograph record, the first vinyl was created was by American inventor Emile Berliner in the 1890s. By 1895, record players were released to the masses and soon became dominated by the rise of radio. Record players still sold well in the ’30s and ’40s but it wasn’t until the ’60s and ’70s that the golden age of records reached its peak. Today, records are regaining some popularity thanks to the vintage movement and style.

Vinyl is a little odd given that the color of the vinyl can determine its quality, with black having higher quality than its more colorful counterparts. Voyager 1 probe contains a Golden Record by Carl Sagan and is currently the farthest human-made object from Earth. The slang “groovy” actually comes from the groove in a vinyl record, after all the music is in the groove.

Recording History has a how-to on cleaning vinyl records by hand without damaging them, to make sure your records stay playable for years to come.

You will need:

  • Soft cloths (microfiber, cotton, or flannel)
  • A soft brush
  • Distilled water
  • Cleaning solution formulated specifically for vinyl records (optional)

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Begin by gently wiping the record with a soft cloth. Make sure you are wiping in a radial pattern and not circular, as this can cause scratches on the surface of the vinyl. Once you have wiped away any dust or dirt particles, use a soft brush to sweep away any remaining debris.
  2. If there is still residue on your record after wiping it down with a cloth and brushing it, it is safe to use a cleaning solution specifically formulated for vinyl records. Simply spray the solution on the record and rub it in with a soft cloth. Be sure to evenly spread out the liquid as you go.
  3. When you have finished washing your record, rinse off all residue with distilled water. To dry your record, you can use a soft cloth, a microfiber towel, or air dry.
  4. It is important to always handle your vinyl records with care and respect. This means not touching the grooved playing surface of the record directly and being aware of any sharp objects that could easily damage the vinyl. With these few simple tips, you can keep your records clean and free of damage.

Happy National Vinyl Record Day!